Is the electric vehicle segment something you’d like to explore? We’re happy to assist you. With each new electric vehicle launched, the technology that powers them gets smarter. Ranges continue to expand, leaving behind any corresponding fear. The infrastructure for charging appears to be ready to go.
Finding the right electric vehicle for your lifestyle and budget can be a challenge. Do you want something inexpensive and with a more limited selection, or do you want to pony up extra cash for luxury features and enough range for charge-free road trips? What criteria should you use to choose which electric vehicle is best for you?
We can’t tell you exactly which EV is right for your life, but we can narrow your choices down. See, we’ve driven just about every permutation of every current-production electric vehicle on sale in the US today, so we here at Roadshow have a better-than-average view of what’s good and what’s not in EVs right now.
After taking a look at our recommendations, don’t forget to check out our tips afterward for buying your first EV.
Mini might be new to the EV game, but the brand’s first effort is a great one. What it lacks in overall range, it makes up for in being fun to drive and great to be in, all at a surprisingly reasonable price. We’re also a total sucker for those electrical outlet-style wheels.
Although the Mini SE can only travel 110 miles on a single charge, those 110 miles are sure to be some of the most exhilarating ones you’ll ever experience. The good news is that you can charge your phone to 80% in around 30 minutes using a 50-kilowatt fast charger.
Because of its lackluster driving dynamics and interior quality, the 2022 Chevy Bolt comes in second, but it offers an impressive amount of range for a vehicle of its size and price. If you’re looking for an American EV, you may want to hold out until the 2022 model year, when the Bolt gets a major upgrade.
The Bolt continues to be a great value in terms of price to the range. As long as you don’t mind the fact that it’s a little on the little side, it’s an excellent choice. There is 200 horsepower to help you get around. The Bolt is a terrific option if you’re willing to spend a little more and need the extra range.
Ford’s Mustang Mach-E is also a newcomer to the EV platform game, but it makes an impressive debut. While the Mach-moniker E’s may raise some eyebrows, the car offers a lot in the way of practicality and comfort, including a spacious luggage area that can accommodate up to 29 cubic feet of cargo when all the seats are folded down.
It’s possible to have a Mach-E in a variety of flavors, but even the base model is thrilling to drive and well-deserving of the Mustang nameplate. The Mach-E easily gets out of its own way with 290 horsepower in RWD form or 346 hp in the AWD version. Both the chassis and the cabin are excellent. In terms of all-around electric vehicles, the Mach-E ranks high.
When it comes to electric vehicles, Tesla’s Model 3 is a top pick, and with good reason. It’s fun to drive, looks fantastic, and has a tremendous range and a highly active community of people who own it as well. With its higher price tag (when you include the FSD bundle), build quality flaws, and absence of service centers in some places, it had to be our second choice.
The Model 3 is still a beautiful car to drive, despite its many flaws. Passing or merging is a snap because of its electric power, and the chassis is more competent and athletic than it should be. Although the interior is simple, the two trunks provide plenty of storage space. The Model 3 is a Tesla, which means it has the finest range in the industry. You can still drive 263 miles between charges with the cheapest version, but the Long Range version increases it to 353 miles. Several charging stations will be bypassed.
On paper, the Porsche Taycan appears to be a difficult vehicle to get excited about. Even though it’s a pricey Porsche, the estimated range is woefully underwhelming. A Taycan is entirely another story, and we’re certain that it’s the greatest EV you can purchase right now. Aside from long road trips, its real-world range and build quality/driving dynamics are unbeatable.
With the performance battery option, the Taycan’s official range is 227 miles, and that’s in the 4S model. Even if this were 100% accurate, it would still be more than enough for the majority of people on the majority of days. With merely 400 horsepower, even the base model of the Taycan offers a driving experience unmatched by any other electric vehicle now on the market. There’s a lot to watch once Porsche solves the range problem.
2022 Porsche Taycan is a good-driving EV in an awesome pink wrapper
There’s no denying that Tesla’s Model S is currently the king of the range jungle. It’s also an outdated platform with well-known and oft-criticized quality control concerns. It’s a fun car to drive, but only in past incarnations, as no one has yet had a chance to get behind the wheel of the refurbished model.
While Tesla can’t quite match Porsche’s driving dynamics or build quality, the Model S has the kind of name recognition it has for a reason. It’s still a comfy, ludicrously powerful luxury EV and if you’re only interested in making incredibly long rides without too many charging pauses, then it’s the way to go for sure.
The new Plaid Plus version takes the whole rapid EV thing to another level totally, too. Tesla boasts that it will do better than 520 kilometers on a charge while generating over 1,100 horsepower and sub-2-second launches to 60 mph. Will this actually play out as Elon Musk says? No one knows, but it would be awesome if it did.
Many folks searching for their first electric vehicle are likely to be looking for something affordable. While EVs still haven’t reached price parity with internal combustion vehicles, there are dozens of fantastic examples under $50,000. Our favorite among these is the Hyundai Kona Electric. We choose the Kona because it delivers an amazing range, a practical small-SUV-style body, and a terrific guarantee.
The Kona Electric delivers a super decent range of 258 miles and a drivetrain that produces 201 horsepower, all in a package that will work for most families. Even with all the seats folded down, it has a sizable trunk — 19.2 cubic feet to be exact — and plenty of creature comforts as standard, which is to say, this is a Hyundai. Don’t even get us started on the warranty. If you can live with the style (we like it) and you can stretch your buck far enough, the Kona is an almost excellent first EV.
We’ve talked about our difficulties with Model 3’s build quality, but what truly kills it in this situation is pricing. The lowest Model 3 you can buy comes in at $37,990, albeit it doesn’t feature paint that isn’t white or any of the driving aids that are bundled with the now-$10,000 Full Self-Driving package. Despite this, the driving experience and range are both excellent, with a combined total of 263 miles.
The Model 3 offers a lot of use despite its elegant design. Its two trunks mean there’s plenty of room for all your belongings, however, others may prefer the huge hatch of an SUV or a hatchback. The Model Y might be a good fit for this need, but we haven’t had a chance to test drive it yet, so we can’t make any recommendations. We also wonder about how well the Model 3 will hold up to a family with kids, especially with its simple interior.
So maybe you’re shopping for your first EV and you have a little extra money to spend. In that circumstance, the Porsche Taycan is the only EV we would suggest. It’s easy to use, quick to respond, and all-around use, and it can be completely customized. A lot better than the EPA estimate, and therefore suitable for the majority of users. This one was a unanimous vote of Roadshow editors. It’s hard to beat the Taycan.
When it comes to performance, chassis, and interior luxury, the Taycan Turbo S is unbeatable if you want to live large. With 750 horsepower and a 0-60 time of 2.6 seconds, you’ll rarely find yourself bored behind the wheel. You won’t mind the PCCM infotainment system’s ease of use or aesthetic appeal if you do become bored.
Maybe you’re expressly shopping for an electric SUV. There just aren’t too many to chose from yet and many of those that are already available are kind of little. That’s why we’re once again endorsing Ford’s Mustang Mach-E. It offers plenty of storage space, lots of room for passengers, a respectable range, superb driving dynamics and good infotainment. It’s also priced quite competitively.
Ford’s decision to build its first dedicated EV as an SUV was a smart one, given how well they are selling these days. It works out even better for the Blue Oval that the Mach-E is so damned wonderful to drive and simple to live with. Despite its rakish design and sporty branding, the Mach-E is expected to be a very practical midsize electric vehicle that can be used by nearly any household. Ford also has a GT variant coming shortly if you’re looking for something sportier.
Audi’s E-Tron is one of those EVs, like the Taycan, that doesn’t seem as remarkable on paper but once you drive it for a time, its price seems a lot more justified. It has a nice interior and excellent build quality befitting a German premium SUV. It’s a well-considered first effort from Audi and even though it lacks vast range capabilities, it’s an attractive car with all the practicality of an SUV. It’s even got 28.5 cubic feet of cargo room with all the seats up. Its cost kept it out of the first-place rank.
Audi’s E-Tron Sportback was also a standout, but we had to pick the more conventional SUV for reasons of practicality, and that SUV is that. It’s the perfect size for a family of four and their belongings, and it’s also very maneuverable in a crowded metropolis. Aside from the wonderful Jetsons low-speed noise, it could pass for a Q5. It looks and feels like an Audi. Going unnoticed is more appealing to some people than making a big deal of things. The 355 horsepower and all-wheel drive make it a blast to drive. I guarantee you’ll be satisfied with one if you can get your hands on one.
Comparison of the best electric cars for 2022
|Best electric small car||Mini||Cooper SE||110||$29,900|
|Best electric small car runner-up||Chevy||Bolt||259||$36,500|
|Best electric midsize car||Ford||Mustang Mach-E||211||$42,895|
|Best electric midsize car runner-up||Tesla||Model 3||263||$37,990|
|Best electric large car||Porsche||Taycan||192||$79,900|
|Best electric large car runner-up||Tesla||Model S||412||$79,990|
|Best affordable electric car||Hyundai||Kona Electric||258||$39,390|
|Best affordable electric car runner-up||Tesla||Model 3||263||$37,990|
|Best luxury electric car||Porsche||Taycan||192||$79,900|
|Best electric SUV or crossover||Ford||Mustang Mach-E||211||$42,895|
|Best electric SUV or crossover runner-up||Audi||E-Tron||222||$69,500|
Consider This Before Buying an EV
Switching to an electric vehicle necessitates more than just a new car. The fact that you can’t immediately go to the petrol station down the street does make things more difficult, but we’re here to help.
Before you even think about looking for an electric car, think about how you’ll power it up after you get it home and start using it. Even though every EV comes with an adaptor that allows you to connect to any conventional 110-volt outlet (at least in the US), the size of modern EV batteries means that you could spend days waiting for a decent charge.
If you own your own home, you’ll need to look into getting a Level 2 charger installed. Fortunately, they don’t cost much by themselves. While getting one put in does require a contractor’s services (these are serious voltages and currents we’re working with here), there can be tax incentives for doing so — especially if you decide to make the leap to solar at the same time.
If you don’t own your own home, you’ll be using a charging network. Investigate the most well-established ones near where you live and drive the most. If you have a Tesla, this is relatively easy. Electrify America, Chargepoint, and EVGA are the most widely used nonproprietary networks for charging electric vehicles. If you own other models, you’ll need to conduct some additional studies. The apps and prices vary, but the basic functionality is the same across all of these services. These charging networks will enable Level 2 charging or DC fast-charging. The latter is substantially more expensive, but it’s far faster.
The next thing to think about is maintenance and service. When compared to an automobile powered by an internal combustion engine, EVs often require far less maintenance. Even yet, if you’re set on a Tesla but don’t live near a Tesla repair center and something goes wrong, you might be in a pickle. In this situation, maybe an EV from a more traditional brand might be better for you.
Tax incentives are a significant element of many people’s decisions to transition to an EV, and that’s entirely valid. It’s vital, though, to recognize that not all manufacturers qualify for all of the incentives (Tesla, especially), and not all purchasers will be able to take advantage of the full federal incentive, even if it’s given. It’s important talking to a tax professional before incorporating a $7,500 tax credit into your purchase — even if a manufacturer tries to include it in its stated prices. Don’t forget to look into state and local tax incentives as well; don’t let money slip through your fingers.
Let’s not forget about bringing up your electric vehicle. People will question you about it — friends, relatives, and strangers — especially if you live somewhere EVs aren’t super common yet. Some of those questions might sound foolish or even dumb, but you’re going to hear them, and depending on how you answer, you might just help convince those people that an EV could work for them too.
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